Fasshauer selected National Player of Week

Cardinal earns honor after leading Ball State to 2 weekend victories.

After smashing 19 kills in 22 attempts with no errors, Paul Fasshauer of the Ball State men's volleyball team was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association/Sports Import National Player of the Week for his performance.

Fasshauer being named National Player of the Week was the first such award for Ball State since Brian Hughes earned the nod in 2000.

"It means a lot because it's always nice to be recognized at the national level," Fasshauer said. "I've never even won conference Player of the Week before, so it's just nice to be recognized."

During the week Fasshauer helped the Cardinals take 3-0 victories over Clarke and No. 11 Ohio State. The senior aided the Cards in the two games by hitting .863. He also added defense with 12 blocks in the week, 10 against Ohio State.

Fasshauer averages 2.71 kills per game while hitting .521. He also averages 1.29 blocks per game. He has been among national leaders in the categories of hitting percentages and blocking all season. Nationally, he has been ranked as high as third in hitting percentage and seventh in blocking.

This week's honor isn't the first sight of success for the senior. Fasshauer competed on the United States men's volleyball team in late August 2001, traveling to Beijing, China for the World University Games.

Team USA steamrolled through the tournament and, in the final point of its championship match against France, Fasshauer saw months of hard work and dreams come to fruition.

"We won the last point on a huge block by Mac Wilson, from Brigham Young," Fasshauer said. "(It was) the perfect way to end the whole thing. We really didn't know how well we would do when we got there, but we got more confident with each match we won. When it was over we all rushed onto the court. It was just an amazing feeling."

The gold medal Fasshauer brought back to Muncie to show his coach and Ball State teammates was the first men's volleyball gold won by the United States in World University Games history. Not only that, but it was also the first gold medal for the United States in any international competition since 1990.

"It was insane," Fasshauer said. "I had no idea how large this event was until I got here, but it was great and China did a great job. I heard people who were in Sydney for the Olympics say the opening ceremonies in Beijing were better than the ones there."

Fasshauer's participation in what turned out to be the largest World University Games in history was the result of a three-month odyssey of travel, training and competition that began at the urging of Ball State coach Joel Walton.

"The national team directors were looking for the best players in the Midwest," Walton said. "I felt like Paul and (Ball State teammate) Matt (Denmark) were two of the best."

Walton nominated his two stars for the national team tryouts, and they were invited to Colorado Springs, Colo. Once there, the duo joined three former Cardinals - Phil Eatherton, Mark Lau and Greg Romano - who were also bidding for spots on Team USA.

"We are one of the elite teams in the country and I think having five guys involved in national team selections proves that we will continue to be a national power," Walton said.

When the final selections were announced, Fasshauer said he was happy, but most of all relieved.

"After all that work and time, I just wanted to know if it all paid off," he said. "I was excited but also sort of surprised."

Walton, however, was not at all surprised by his player's achievement.

"It was really exciting and even vindicating in a way," he said. "I always felt like Paul was one of the best middle attackers in the country and he worked really hard for it."


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